Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Outside Film review 1: Galaxy Quest

I am still sort of surprised we didn’t watch this movie.  It would have fit in so well with Fan Boys and Trekkies.  I think a lot of the brilliance of Galaxy Quest comes from a lot of the same things that make Starship Troopers so great.  The ability to comment on an entire genre while being a self contained thing is just brilliant.  Galaxy Quest has the whole meta thing going for it, being about a sci-fi television show that is mistaken as real life.  The depictions of the characters at the convention, reprising their roles for the rest of their lives, fit right in with Trekkies.  After appearing in the cult phenomenon of a show they can never break away from that character professionally.  And to the aliens these actors are the characters they portrayed.  Tim Allen’s character obviously lives for this while Alan Rickman is haunted by it.  Much of this has happened to the cast of Star Trek in real life, forever recognized as their characters. 
Being able to openly acknowledge the tropes of a sci-fi show like Star Trek gives Galaxy Quest a lot of depth.  Sam Rockwell’s character is so paranoid of dying due to the propensity of no-name red shirt characters to be killed off the show.  The Omega 13 device was built because it just happened to be in the TV show.  And the crew of super fans headed by Justin Long having an obsessive and extensive knowledge of the show ends up saving them in real life.  I think it is interesting to note that the events of the movie and the fanaticism of the convention goers leads to the show being rebooted at the end, much like the fate of Star Trek launching the Next Generation series due to such fan devotion.

The movie shows off what a fan base ends up doing for a series.  As more and more media realizes that their relationship with the consumer is the most important aspect of being successful the more appreciation for the fan base you see.  The aliens in Galaxy Quest are the ultimate fans, structuring their whole existence over this show.  And it is due to their obsession that leads to the revival of the show, after you know, almost getting them killed but that is beside the point.  While being a cute/fun movie Galaxy Quest makes interesting note of the symbiotic relationship between fans and their media.  I mean, fans of the one season ratings flop Firefly were so die hard that they got the show a movie deal.  A show or movie that acknowledges and supports its fans is one that tends to have better success.  With the plethora of options in entertainment more and more studios are making specific efforts to connect with viewers to try and achieve that Trekkies level of fanaticism, even if only because in the end it means more money.  But it would be nice to think that some of the motivation comes from wishing to share in that cultural exchange.  

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